Week 3 of Advent
“No one has ever seen God.” This is an indisputable fact. There have been some, as we read about in the Old Testament who have been close, approaching a “proximate” view of God. Moses, as he stood on the mountain was privileged to be hidden in a cleft of the rock by the hand of God as God passed by. But all that Moses saw was the back of God. Even this left an indelible mark on the life of Moses.
Isaiah, as he entered the temple, was surrounded by the presence of God, yet all that he saw was God’s robe that filled the temple. Ezekiel saw the angels of God and heard the voice of God, but he never saw God himself. Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden and heard his voice, but they never, to our knowledge, saw God personally. Countless others throughout history have seen angels and been in the presence of God, but no one has ever seen God.
But as we examine His work among us, the path that he has left behind tells us much about God.
The grace and truth of God abounded throughout the Old Testament. These two attributes of God were known and celebrated consistently. While no one ever saw God, they knew that these were two of his many characteristics. But then a revelation. There is really no apt way to describe it other than to say that what had been talked about, believed in, and taught for a couple of thousand years, now became reality. It wasn’t that they didn’t believe, but that they didn’t really understand.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Like a single couple talking about how to have the perfect marriage. Or a young married couple sharing with their elders their theories on child rearing. Some things can be read and studied and believed, but once you actually experience them before your very eyes you’re never quite the same. The revelation of experience makes the difference. The revelation occurred when God took human flesh, becoming a man named Jesus just about 2000 years ago. History has not been the same and ideas of God will never be like they were since Jesus walked on the earth. Until that time, no one had ever seen God, but in the person of Jesus was seen all the glory of God, his grace and truth, embodied.
The full resources of God stood behind the incarnate one. The characteristics ascribed only to God by the Old Testament were present in the incarnate Word, God in the flesh. He was in person the awesome presence of God in the midst of a people who had only known him from a distance. He had the grace and truth that could only be found in God. We must emphasize here the characteristics revealed in Jesus, the grace and truth found in the glory of God, could only be revealed by the “one and only Son” begotten from alongside the Father. Jesus showed by his life to those who were privileged to behold with wonder his glory, that he was indeed the Son of God. There is none like him and there can be no equal to him. His name is above all names and he is unique in the history of the world. There have been other great men and women, there have been other great teachers and servants, but there has been only one Jesus. So while we may agree that other belief systems can have equal treatment in our world and deserve equal opportunity, we can never agree to say that other beliefs are equally true or equally effective. The committed Christian cannot say: “Jesus and Caesar” or “Jesus and Buddha” or “Jesus and Muhammed” or “Jesus and Joseph Smith.” We say “Jesus, one and only.” He is the fulness of God, making known the glory of God, full of grace and truth.
And his fulness fills our lives as believers. When we receive Jesus we receive the fulness of God’s grace and truth. We receive grace upon grace, blessings upon blessings. The full generosity of God’s love is poured out on our lives. Believe in Jesus and receive the fulness of His grace.
This is the message of John in his gospel. Jesus is the fulness of God and we must believe on him with all of our hearts to be saved. There is no other name under heaven by which you can be saved. Trust Jesus today. Follow Jesus today. Surrender to Jesus today. Will you, today, give Him your life?